Local regulation, metaverse gaming and data privacy as a priority – these are some crucial industry trends for the current year, according to the latest column by iGaming tech provider SOFTSWISS. The company, which has10+ years of expertise in the field, has analyzed the results and market changes in 2022 to share a data-driven report on the Hottest iGaming Trends for 2023.
The report covers the trends related to payments and licensing, player behaviour, operations, gamification, and security. The insights are based on the data from 600+ SOFTSWISS clients, expertise of the key company specialists, and industry experts survey results.
60% of the third-party experts surveyed by SOFTSWISS named Payments and Licensing as the most crucial category influencing the iGaming industry.
In 2023, more markets worldwide are expected to become locally regulated. This trend is strengthening as certain countries, including Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands, are withdrawing from their registrations with international gaming authorities.
In terms of payments, operators need to ensure:
Abundance of well-established payment options
Localisation of financial modules
The integration of Apple Pay and Google Play could serve as a sound springboard to boost an online gambling business on the go.
As for digital coins, even non-pro crypto adopters are expected to continue to offer them as a payment option to tap into new audiences and attract crypto-oriented gamblers. On the whole, cryptocurrencies see wider recognition, as many countries are beginning to recognise and integrate them into their financial systems. The latest example is Ukraine launching e-hryvnia issued by the NBU.
Andrey Starovoitov, Co-CEO at SOFTSWISS, comments on the future of crypto:
“The SOFTSWISS Crypto Casino Solution statistics demonstrate that Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin remain the most demanded among crypto players. We also expect USDT to be an upcoming trend in the next few years. Despite the fact that the crypto market is going through turbulent times, operators recognise the importance of crypto payments and their influence on the project attractiveness for the audience and the final casino choice. That explains why in 2023 operators will seek to integrate alternative currencies and reinforce their portfolio with new digital coins.”
When it comes to player behaviour trends, operators are predicted to shift their focus from product-centric to user-centric business models. The commitment and effort to solve players’ issues will pay off through improved player retention metrics and increased loyalty.
Another sage move is launching mobile and smartwatch versions of casino and sports betting projects to win over new audiences seeking easy and quick access to online gaming functionality.
One more player trend outlined based on the SOFTSWISS Casino Platform clients’ data is the increasing popularity of live dealer games with crypto users. The market will give preference to this type of games, considering it a more valuable proposition.
As for sports betting projects, the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook statistics demonstrate that 66% of bets are placed during live events against 34% of those placed in advance. This adds weight to the technical sustainability of platforms and drives the need for high-quality live broadcasts.
The data-driven decision-making approach will make operators seek ready-made software products offering real-time access to clear and transparent data on their projects.
In 2023, operators will redirect their attention from such exclusively financial KPIs as the first deposit, GGR, and NGR towards the game session length and bet count metrics. Prudent operators will invest to diversify their game portfolio, integrate new bonuses and use free-to-play games to improve loyalty, increase conversions, and establish long-term relationships with players.
Max Trafimovich, Chief Commercial Officer at SOFTSWISS, comments: “To run a profitable iGaming business operators need to know what their target audience is concerned about: be it integration of top-performing titles and new game mechanics to diversify their content portfolio, or availability and seamless performance of different payment methods including crypto, or technical sustainability of web and mobile project versions. At SOFTSWISS, we develop technologies allowing our clients to stay one step ahead and keep track of their project progress 24/7 in great detail. To achieve these goals, in 2022 we launched three Business Intelligence tools housed by the SOFTSWISS Casino Platform – BM3, Event Streaming and iGAP.”
In 2023, gamification, being one of the main player engagement growth directions, will continue to proliferate in the industry, bringing in a number of related trends.
Cryptocurrency and NFT are expected to underpin the financial systems in meta-casinos to simplify withdrawing and depositing from different countries. At the same time, the market will be limited to crypto users.
This year, operators are expected to rely more on jackpot campaigns to attract, reactivate and motivate players to engage in the desired type of gameplay. According to the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator’s clients, 49.6% of jackpot players increased their average bet sum in response to a global jackpot campaign, boosting the operator revenue.
Besides being a player engagement booster, in 2023 bonuses will also find their use in regulating at-risk gambling activities and protecting overspending players. To achieve these, operators will opt for new innovative bonuses with flexible mechanics meeting various player needs. Overall, casino and sports betting projects will have to leverage different engagement tools to deliver outstanding results.
Max Trafimovich, Chief Commercial Officer at SOFTSWISS, adds: “However, it is not the innovative technologies only that are capable of engaging the audience. The inclusion of retention and reactivation practices in project operations also affects the growth of key casino metrics. By treating each player as a VIP bettor, we not only maximise the player LTV, but also increase the overall audience loyalty. For example, in 2022 the SOFTSWISS Reactivation team discovered that their outgoing interactions reduced player churn rate by 50%. ”
Following the iGaming industry growth, players want to understand what data operators are collecting about them, and how it will be used.
In the context of GDPR and data security, the main Data Privacy as a priority trend will develop in several sub-trends further detailed in the report.
In 2023, the emphasis will also be laid on Responsible Gambling practices. Preventing affective behaviour, dealing with already problematic players, and managing marketing activities will allow having a healthy gaming experience free of economic and social risks or traumas.
In addition to the player care security trends, 2023 will see improved fraud prevention with advanced ML-powered tools. The SOFTSWISS Anti-Fraud department, which saved 15+ bln EUR for the company clients in 2022, shares that the most widespread types of fraud look like:
Bonus abuse – 69.9%
Money laundering – 9.9%
Payment system fraud – 5.9%
In 2023 operators will be protecting their reputation and income by strengthening the verification quality with the help of additional analytical tools and services for checking documents and identifying destructive patterns.
Andrey Starovoitov, Co-CEO at SOFTSWISS summarises the report trends: “The fast-growing iGaming market generates plenty of trends stemming from various business areas. And it's rather a challenge to monitor and follow each of them. To be a leading casino or sports betting operator, we suggest leveraging all existing business opportunities. In 2023, that starts with the integration of innovative solutions for deep project analytics, and player engagement tools. Another thing is to choose a reliable software provider who offers deep data-driven market expertise, flexible products, top-level service, and is capable of ensuring security.”
SOFTSWISS will be showcasing at ICE London 2023 on 7–9 February. Visitors are encouraged to meet with the company experts and Business Development Managers at stand N8-231, where they will be presenting SOFTSWISS technology solutions and product updates.